The League of Women Voters grew out of the women’s suffrage movement. In 1920, after passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution giving women the right to vote, Carrie Chapman Catt, who led the battle, organized the League of Women Voters of the United States. The League’s first goal was to equip women to exercise their new right to vote.
Since its founding, the League at all levels has worked on a multitude of issues. These include:
· Election, campaign, and legislative lobbying reform
· Government finances and tax reform
· Local government structure and efficiency
· Judicial reform
· Public education
· Health care
· Equal opportunity in employment and housing
· Welfare reform
· Child care
· Environmental quality
· Consumer protection
The League of Women Voters of Rensselaer County was established in 1939. Beulah Bailey Thull, a suffragette and founding member of the League of Women Voters of New York State, was our first president. Beulah had degrees from Troy High School, Cornell University, and the State Library School and did graduate work at Columbia University. She was a leading expert on tax policy and served as a speech writer for New York State Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. She helped establish the State Civil Service Employees Association, acting as its first president. She also served as state legislative chair for the NYS Federation of Women’s Clubs and at one time, held the position of Rensselaer County Historian. In 1959, when well into her sixties, Beulah won a women’s perliminary sports car race at Watkins Glen driving an Alpha Romeo at an average speed of 64.4 MPH!! The second president was Cahterine Benson, a trained nurse who became Director of Nurses at Leonard Hospital in Troy.